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The Importance of the 45 S Ribosomal Small Subunit-related Complex for Mitochondrial Translation in Trypanosoma brucei *


The mitochondrial 45 S SSU* complex in Trypanosoma brucei contains the 9 S SSU ribosomal RNA, a set of SSU ribosomal proteins, several pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins, and proteins not typically found in ribosomes, including rhodanese domain protein (Rhod) and a 200-kDa coiled-coil protein. To investigate the function of this complex, PPR29, Rhod, 200-kDa protein, and mitochondrial ribosomal protein S17 were knocked down by RNAi in procyclic T. brucei. A growth retardation phenotype, a reduction in the amount of the 45 S SSU* complexes, and the preferential inhibition of synthesis of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I over apocytochrome b were observed as early as day 2 postinduction of RNAi. On the contrary, the down-regulation of mitochondrial ribosomal protein L3 drastically reduced the amount of the large subunit and indiscriminately inhibited mitochondrial translation. The relative amounts of translation-competent, long poly(AU)-tailed cytochrome c oxidase subunit I and edited apocytochrome b mRNAs were selectively reduced by ablation of the 45 S SSU* complex. The formation of the 80 S translation complexes, identified by association of the long-tailed mRNAs with the mitoribosomes, was also disrupted. On the other hand, the relative amount of long-tailed edited RPS12 mRNA was not substantially affected, and there was no noticeable effect on the RPS12 translation complexes. In bloodstream trypanosomes, the amount of the 45 S complexes was drastically reduced compared with procyclics. We propose that the 45 S SSU* complex represents a factor required for normal mitochondrial translation that may have selective effects on different mRNAs.

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